he Court of Appeal, beginning Monday, is set to hear and dispose of 40 criminal appeals via remote sessions that will be held at the Mbale High Court.
The sessions, second of their kind, will be opened by the Acting Chief Justice, Alfonse Chigamoy Owiny-Dollo and will see 17 murder cases heard, 12 cases of aggravated defilement and 7 cases of aggravated robbery according to the court cause list. The other appeals to be heard relate to offences of operating a pharmacy without a license, rape, arson and criminal trespass, each with one case.
According to the acting Registrar of the Court of Appeal, Mr. Ayebare Tumwebaze, the sessions will be conducted via zoom technology and the appellants will not come to court however their Lordships, Justices Fredrick Engonda-Ntende, Cheborion Barishaki and Muzamiru Kibeedire will preside over the zoom sessions.
‘’Since the appellants or prisoners will not come to court due to the threat of Covid-19, the hearings will be via zoom technology. Lawyers will carry along laptop computers for the session. The court will provide internet connectivity and their Lordships will host the zoom session while sitting at Mbale High Court,’’ Mr Tumwebaze said.
He urges the lawyers in conduct of the matters to observe Covid-19 prevention guidelines including social distancing, hand washing, sanitization and wearing of face masks as earlier directed by the Chief Justice and the Ministry of Health in a bid to control the spread of the deadly corona virus.
The online sessions are in line with earlier guidelines issued by the judiciary on to conduct online court hearings in order to allow for business continuity in the third organ of government amidst the pandemic. The sessions also will see Justice Jane Frances Abodo, the new Director of Public Prosecutions make her first court appearance as DPP where she will personally handle some of appeals. Justice Abodo was appointed earlier this year following the promotion of the then DPP, Justice Mike Chibita to the Supreme Court bench.
According to the cause-list, the first case is an appeal against the acquittal of 12 people on charges of arson, inciting violence, doing grievous bodily harm and assault, offences which were committed in Tororo district is based on the appellants’ conviction for burning several houses belonging to their neighbours in an inter-tribal clash.
In one case, the appellant seeks to quash a death sentence while four other cases are appeals against life sentences handed down by the High Court♦